You’re paying how much? – October 2017 update

by Graham Dodd on 24/10/2017

Probably my most popular blog in recent years, but has the situation changed and if so, how?

In the original blog, I set out to explain that in my opinion, you could not buy solus door drops at £40.00 per 1,000 – or even less – and expect them to really work.

It’s still a cost that exists in the marketplace, so perhaps not a lot has changed?

Well, Minimum Wage levels have and the statistics make even more compelling reading now.

General industry advice is still that an individual distributor, subject to the demographic nature of the area they are covering, should be able to distribute between 700 – 1,000 leaflets in a 7-hour working day.

I still personally think the number may be nearer to 700-800, but for sake of the mathematics, let’s agree 1,000 leaflets in 7 hours (maximum volume/shortest time).

Minimum Wage for adults in 2017 was increased to £7.50 per hour (for people 25 and over) – 7 x £7.50 = £52.50 per 1,000 – i.e. just the direct cost of labour.

If it takes 8 hours to distribute 1,000 leaflets, the cost per 1,000 rises to £60.00 per 1,000.

If the distributor only delivers 800 leaflets in 7 hours, the cost per 1,000 rises to £65.62 per 1,000.

So how does the company charging you £40.00 per 1,000 (or less) exist financially?

Presumably out of the £40.00 per 1,000 charged to you, they also pay for some form of management control and/or verification AND hope to make a profit?

So just how much are they paying their distributors?

Certainly not the Minimum Wage.

And you’re trusting your solus door drops to these people!

There are still some small, local operators who are pretty much employer and employee, and they can make those sorts of rates work, but trust me, they are very much in the minority and operate in quite small areas.

So how does a client navigate this maze?

Clarify the distribution company’s definition of solus distribution is the same as yours – i.e. your leaflet goes through the letterbox on its own, not shared with anything else.

Some distribution companies offer a service called “solus by type”, “solus by nature” or something similar.

This will mean that your item will be distributed alongside other items; in other words your solus door drop is in reality a shared distribution.

Some companies may limit the number of items they carry in any “shared” operation and some may also offer brand/service exclusivity, but you need to be asking the right questions before committing your precious budget to these people.

The more responsible companies will explain this service to you, but others may not.

So don’t confuse “shared” quotations with genuine solus quotations.

One final tip.

If your proposed supplier identifies that the c. £40.00 per 1,000 rate is for shared distribution, ask them what their solus rate is?

But alternatively, as ever, you can always talk to us for an honest assessment of what’s best to achieve your objectives. You never know, we might even change your way of thinking!

This article was written by...

– who has written 82 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

Graham Dodd is the founder of The Letterbox Consultancy - he has over 40 years of experience in the door drop industry and remains at the forefront of innovation in the business.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue October 30, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Food for thought and as ever very useful information. Thanks for sharing.


Karl Anders November 2, 2017 at 4:30 pm

I agree with your points made here. A lot of dodgy tricks go on in the door to door advertising world.

When we first started in business 6 years ago, I didn’t realise this and based our prices around the £40 per 1000 mark. Granted Minimum Wage was lower back then, although most of the time I was delivering all day for nothing. It came in handy however eventually as we got sick of not having any money and learned how to quote properly.

I believe most of this in the industry goes on, because it’s so hard for new distribution businesses to learn how to quote because so many factors go into it. An example of this in our first year was when we booked a job in and they had not told us that the 20,000 flyers were all in envelopes and addressed. We still got the job done but there are so many pitfalls to avoid when quoting.

Great article anyway, keep trying to educate.

We still get people thinking that our work is easy based on the notion that they had a paper round when they were 12 and believe they could do it themselves if they had the time.


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